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Tech students from across the state competed for a brighter future Saturday

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Tech students from across the state competed for a brighter future Saturday.

"They're given a blueprint, given some cut pieces of metal and they have to put them together," said Kevin DeLaBruere who helped organized the event.

Saturday, 14 students from five schools use brains and brawn to piece together who the best high school welder in the state is.

The Skills USA competition first began in the 1970's under a different name.

Students are given a range of equipment to torch, grind, and weld their way to victory.

The competitors are judged on meeting specs, and the quality of their work.

"So they would have to be the right size, they have to have the right profile and everything else," DeLaBruere said.

"Not just pride, there's also prizes on the line."

First place, second and third will take home one-thousand, five hundred, and two hundred fifty dollars, respectively, in scholarship money for a future welding classes.

The first place winner will also secure a spot in the National Championships to be held in Kansas City Missouri.

"I did pretty okay, not my best, but it's the nerves that always get you," said Bradley Hayden. He is a student at Burlington Technical Center.

He says the competition forces students to use all their skills. Win or lose, Hayden says he'll stick with welding.

"I plan on doing welding for a very long time. I definitely enjoy it and would love it as a career opportunity," Hayden said.

For now, he has the opportunity to win a small scholarship, making the path to his planned career a bit cheaper.

The winners of the competition will be announced on Thursday.

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